Out of the corner of my eye, I could sense it was happening. The gorgeous bridesmaid, who had minutes before elegantly teetered down the aisle on her perfectly dyed bridesmaid heels, was beginning to unnaturally sway as I was preaching my small wedding sermon. I glanced over toward her – her face was grayish and sweat was glistening off her delicate brow. “She’s going to faint,” I thought – and then she crumpled like rag doll onto the carpet.
One might think this would cause chaos – and surely it can – but this wasn’t my first rodeo. As the other bridesmaids flocked around their fallen cohort, I calmly told the congregation, “one of the bridesmaids just needs a moment to catch her breath and get some air. Let’s sing a hymn.” I announced the hymn to the organist and she expertly started playing – it wasn’t her first rodeo either.
The bridesmaid revived almost immediately. We fanned her, got her some water, took off her shoes – and by the end of the fourth verse of Beautiful Savior, she was upright and ready to continue…albeit without those shoes.
I have seen this happen more than a few times over my two decades officiating at weddings. The usual reason? The wedding party is feeling celebratory, maybe a little nervous, and so why not indulge in a little pre-wedding champagne, wine, or beer? Why not take a few nips from that silver flask you hardly ever get to use and have tucked in your suit pocket?
Because alcohol + standing up + being in front of people + being nervous + a hot summer day = passing out. No one wants to believe this – but ask the groomsman who got dizzy during the Lord’s Prayer and fell over – knocking the other groomsmen over like handsome dominoes. Ask the bride who whispered to me, “I think I’m going to throw up” during the Special Music and her groom and I whisked her out a side door for a few moments of air and a necessary garbage can.
Some pastors might tell you not to drink before your wedding because of the solemnity of the occasion, because of the sacred space of the church, etc. Those things are well and good – but I mostly just want y’all to stay upright.
Do yourself a favor: if you want to have alcohol as part of your wedding day – save it for after the ceremony – and save a glass for me!
Love and joy,